COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Short North residents are skeptical and more than half a dozen bars said they are not closing early as the Columbus mayor is attempting to implement restrictions after a string of shootings in the area.
The mayor’s request for all Short North businesses to close at midnight follows back-to-back shootings injured 10 people two weeks ago and a shooting last weekend killed a 21-year-old man. Ginther also issued an executive order to close street food vendors at midnight.
“We are part of a national problem,” said David Hoover, a longtime Short North resident. “It is a trickle down effect of the sense of lawlessness that’s come from the top in this country.”
Police will have a heavy presence on the streets to enforce the new restrictions, and a mobile command tower has been placed on High Street between First and Price Avenues. In addition, parking on High Street is banned from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The violence has had a profound impact on the city and some residents said they feel like they’ve been left out of the discussion.
“I feel bad for the small businesses. It’s a completely different scene and vibe here during the week,” said Lindsey Weiker, a Short North resident. “Like, I love living here. But no one’s like, how about the people that are on like living on High Street that I can’t even walk my dog past a certain time at night, because I’m afraid to walk out of my building on High Street.”
Hoover withheld skepticism for the mayor’s plan, commending the city for taking some action. He said now it’s a “wait and see” situation if the mitigations work.
“I think it’s a short term inconvenience with the bars closing and all of that,” said Hoover. “But I think some strong measures need to be taken and are being taken to get people’s attention. The mayor and the police chief are serious.”
The almost ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ act of the vibrant and busy neighborhood has residents contemplating relocation. They also are concerned that police aren’t being fully transparent about what is happening on their doorstep.
“If you aren’t down here, like you don’t know how bad it is,” said Weiker. “And they’re like trying to just like brush it under the rug. Why aren’t they giving us more information and why is it taking so long.”
Hoover was involved in a task force earlier in the week where business owners and city leaders met to discuss how to move forward.
“There were a lot of frustrated people, particularly business owners and landlords,” said Hoover. “Very adamant that they do something now, and I’m pleased that the leadership listened.”
Weiker said, although she loves living in the Short North, her patience is running thin.
“Come September, if like things don’t get better, like when my lease is up, like I just can’t like go through another summer down here,” she said.